“Static” by Jane-Rebecca Cannarella

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Josh eats with his fingers because when he was raised it was with too many annoying manners. He lived among dinner tables with rules like “it’s rude to put your elbows near your food.” Arms like bows and arrows that knocked into salt and pepper shakers. His aunt once asked if he was raised in a barn, and he said, “I wish.”
So now, much older, he makes bowls of pasta and paints himself with Bengay, and gets high on brown turnpike weed, and pretends he’s a robot while eating strings of spaghetti with his non-analgesic hand. In the attic like a belfry, he keeps his drum kit and even though he’s old he still lives in his parents’ upstairs room: a narrow-backed Quasimodo. He records himself playing music and on one track you can hear his little brother yelling “mommy says keep it the fuck down.”
In the corner of his attic, under a velvet tapestry of a unicorn, is his old person’s television with the dial turner and shitty reception that’s hooked up to a VCR. Sometimes when he’s feeling silly he watches porn on VHS tapes and turns the color on the TV to just green, and shadow, and white, and black; he says it’s like watching aliens have sex.
During the night, Josh sleeps under posters from bands he liked in high school and dreams that his thighs have turned into a mermaid’s. He swims in his sleep even though there’s no ocean. Underwater Josh is weightless, and his fish thighs resist against the tide with sleepy undulations.
On some endless evenings with no sleep within reach, he uses ghost machines to try and see if spirits with ears like basset hounds are talking to him. He waves microphones in the air like wands, a wizard summoning specters. The recordings are waves of hisses and crackles, and Josh claims he can understand what’s being said in the spaces of white noise. His friend asks “how do you find ghosts if you never leave your room?” Josh says that the ghosts come to him; spirits that live with him in the static.

 

 

Jane-Rebecca Cannarella is the editor of HOOT Review and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit.  She was a genre editor at Lunch Ticket, as well as a contributing writer at SSG Music and Sequart: Art & Literacy. In her spare time she is a candy enthusiast and cat fan. She received her BA and M.Ed from Arcadia University, her MFA from Antioch University, and attended Goldsmiths: University of London and Sarah Lawrence College. When not poorly playing the piano, she chronicles the many ways that she embarrasses herself at the website www.youlifeisnotsogreat.com.
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